Why Do People Talk In Their Sleep?

While we commonly associate sleep with switching our body off and hibernating for the night, our brains actually stay remarkably active while we sleep which can cause multiple behaviors to occur in the body. 

These are called parasomnias and refer to movements and general actions that are considered disruptive to our sleep, and more often than not also disruptive to the person next to us.

Talking while sleeping is one of the most common cases of parasomnia that most people experience in their lives.

There are actually quite a few reasons why people will talk to themselves while sleeping and to find out what they are, we have taken a deeper look into the exact reasons for this common occurrence and how common it really is.

Is it Normal to Talk to yourself in your Sleep?

Whether its simple noises and muttered words, or long intricate speeches, these are all very common occurrences while sleeping that have been recorded to have occured in around 66% of the world's population.

Whereas speaking while sleeping is considered an abnormal behavior, it is not considered a medical problem and is completely normal. 

In fact, while it has been found that most people will often talk for around 30 seconds, others have been known to have full blown conversations at random intervals, and never remember having the conversations when they wake up.

These occurrences can happen on a one off occasion or they can continuously happen every few nights. 

What Causes People to Talk in their Sleep?

There are a few key reasons scientists have found that can point to why someone would be prone to talking in their sleep.

Sleep Terrors 

Sleep terror leads to talking in sleep, woman holding pillow over hear ears while sleeping

Sleep terrors also known as night terrors are an REM behavior disorder which causes a person to talk, scream and kick while in their sleep while they dream of a nightmarish situation. 

It can often be extremely difficult to wake someone up who is experiencing sleep terrors. In some cases along with the talking, it can also cause sleepwalking though this is more common in children than adults. 


Another reason scientists have found for why someone will speak in their sleep is because of external factors that are already known to disrupt sleep. Alcohol is the main substance that disrupts sleep and can cause a person to talk as the body tries to shut off.

Because alcohol is not an appropriate sleep aid and it disrupts REM which allows for better sleep, it can therefore cause the body to be much more prone to both sleep walking and talking.


Feeling stressed is one of the most common causes for some people to talk while in their sleep, this can be just from high amounts of regular stress during the day or from underlying mental conditions including anxiety and PTSD.


There are certain medications which can actually cause someone to talk in their sleep.

Antidepressants are one medication that has been reported to have this side effect and is because these types of medication incite and increase muscle tone in REM and causes parasomnia also including sleep talking and sleepwalking.

High fever

This usually corresponds more to children who experience much harsher and more vivid effects from having a bad fever, however it can relate to anyone.

People experiencing a high fever have been known to sleep talk which has also been seen to last longer than the regular brief moments of talking that most other people would experience when sleep talking. 


Is it Dangerous to Sleep Talk?

Luckily, despite there being a decent range of causes, sleep talking is largely considered harmless and whether it occurs briefly or continuously for a few days, there is no reason to be alarmed.

While it is therefore not considered harmful to the individual and would not lead to any further health conditions, there are a few problems that can arise from sleep talking that can affect those around you.

These include the sleep talking revealing embarrassing or private information that can create awkwardness and tension between you and the other person. Excessive sleep talking can also disrupt another person's sleep pattern and lead to issues such as insomnia. 

If you feel that sleep talking is actually a symptom of another serious sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, then it can be a good idea to visit a doctor for an examination, however talking on its own is not considered dangerous.

How to Stop Sleep Talking 

Why Do People Talk in Their SleepWhile there are no specific methods or medications for stopping sleep taking immediately, the best way you can at least cut down its frequency and manage it much better is by maintaining a healthy and fairly strict sleeping pattern.

This includes sleeping at the correct times and not sleeping for too little or too long and getting in the rhythm of sleeping these amounts of hours each day so your body and brain become accustomed to it. 

It is also important to be in a suitable sleeping space to mitigate the chances of sleep talking occuring. Your sleeping area should be free from loud noises and have dark curtains and a good mattress. This will all majorly improve your sleep hygiene that can largely mitigate these instances occurring. 

Finally, while it is of course no easy task, trying to avoid physical and emotional stress is another way to avoid sleep talking as much as possible since most people who talk in their sleep are stressed or anxious so try putting yourself in an environment which is as stress free as possible, even if it is just before you go to bed as this can be a great method for cutting down how much you speak in bed. 


Sleep talking is still very mysterious and while we know it is a parasomnia behavior that can affect people for a handful of reasons, scientists are still researching the intricate details and explanations for this phenomena. 

Luckily, if you do find yourself sleep talking then there are more than a few solutions to resolve the issue or at least cut it down to a point where it will not cause you any further problems.